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Westminster’s School of Music to host ‘Virtual Voice Afternoon’

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Posted on Monday, October 12, 2020

The Westminster College School of Music will host a Virtual Voice Afternoon for prospective vocal students from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.

Participating high school students will receive vocal instruction from Westminster and international clinicians, meet faculty and current students and attend a virtual concert featuring current voice students.

Featured clinicians include Zara Ballara, international opera star and voice coordinator at the University of Canterbury’s School of Music, New Zealand; Susan Foster Lehman, internationally-acclaimed soprano and voice instructor; William Ambert, vocalist, voice instructor and adjunct professor in Westminster's School of Music; and Dr. Andrew Withington, assistant professor of music, director of choral activities and head of voice at Westminster College.

Ballara is voice coordinator at University of Canterbury’s School of Music, New Zealand, and solo artist. Ballara holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in performance from Victoria University of Wellington and completed postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She has appeared in master classes with Roger Vignoles, Graham Johnson, Sarah Walker and Brigitte Fassbaender and took the soprano solo part in Haydn’s The Creation conducted by Sir Colin Davis. In 2000 she won the prestigious Maggie Teyte prize and performed a solo recital accompanied by Simon Lepper at the Royal Opera House. She made her debut at Wigmore Hall, London, in 2002 performing Encantos The Songs of Spain for the Company of Singers and Players.

Lehman earned a B.M. in voice performance from The Ohio State University and trained with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her international opera career has taken her to stages across the United Statese and around the globe. Her Helpmann Award nominated performance as Turandot with Opera Australia won critical acclaim. Other roles have included Tosca, Norma, and Vanessa, Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, Elektra, Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Leonora in both Fidelio and Il Trovatore, Elisabetta in Don Carlo, and Mozart’s heroines Donna Anna, Fiordiligi and Countess Almaviva.

Ambert, a native of Hubbard, Ohio, is an adjunct instructor of voice in the School of Music at Westminster College. A graduate of Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music, the tenor and counter tenor serves as cantor at St. Columba Cathedral and is the soloist at Congregation Rodef Sholom Synagogue, both in Youngstown. He has appeared as a soloist with the Youngstown Symphony, the Ashtabula Symphony, the Greenville Symphony, the Packard Band, YSU Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, the Orchestra of the Academy on the Oval in Cleveland, and the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra in New Jersey. He has performed major roles in numerous theatrical productions in his career and has operated a private voice studio for 20 years.

Withington, who joined the Westminster faculty in 2019, holds a B.M. and Ph.D. in choral pedagogy from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and a master’s in choral conducting from the University of Auckland. He is a trained elementary school teacher and has been a lecturer at the University of Canterbury School of Music and College of Education and was a teacher educator at the New Zealand Graduate School of Education. As artistic director of the internationally acclaimed New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir, he conducted concerts in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa.

To register for the event, please email your name and the word VOICE to Withington at by Thursday, Oct. 22.

For more information about Westminster’s School of Music, please visit

Pictured above from left, Zara Ballara, Susan Foster Lehman, William Ambert and Andrew Withington.